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England Riots

The 2011 England Riots were a quite radical uprising of underprivileged English youth between 6 and 10 August. In England, such riots are a not uncommon form of violent protest that goes back at least to the 1980s. The rioters are mostly boys and young men, whose socioeconomic situation and outlook is very poor. The 2011 riots began in Tottenham, a deprived area in north London with a multicultural population and a high crime rate, after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was shot by police during a regular stop-and-search under much-debated circumstances. The fact that a black male had died as a result of police intervention was handled by the authorities with a very questionable and inappropriate communication policy, which attracted much media attention. A few days later, a peaceful protest march against policing resulted in an aggressive crowd attacking not only the police, but also their local community and municipality. The rioting spread to poor neighborhoods all over the country which were temporarily not under state control and in the hands of rioting youth. The highly contagious nature of these civil disturbances has been ascribed in part to the role of the (social) media, but mostly to the BlackBerry smartphone’s free messaging service, which the rioters appear to have used excessively to communicate, share information, and plan destructive actions (BlackBerry Riots).